Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014 OSCARS: Before Midnight (2013) - Portraying Arguments

[Quick Summary: The last of a trilogy. Celine & Jesse revisit the past during their vacation.]

Today, I read a review of Boyhood, which just premiered at Sundance 2014.  It is also written and directed by Richard Linklater.

The critic writes:
...[A]s a general rule [about Boyhood], Linklater is less interested in narrative than observation.
To me, this sums up Before Midnight as well.  It's all character, all dialogue, and little plot.

Ordinarily, I would dismiss a script that lacked the usual Hollywood markers...but realized that's the very reason to take a closer look.

One of the things I liked was how the writers got in and out of arguments.

ex. Friends offer to babysit while the couple has a night away.
- Celine and Jesse love the hotel room.
- As the night goes on, Celine sees the room as a burden.
- Jesse tries to put a positive spin on it.
- Celine uses this as a jumping board for other issues re: Jesse's work travel.

ex.  Celine deals with issues by jumping to conclusions. Jesse wants to field options. Each struggles to be heard.  (This is particularly good from p.91 to the end.)

These were clean fights:
- The arguments had clear points of view.
- The general discussion became personalized. ex. The group discussed men and women. Celine turned it into Jesse and her.  This is true to life.
- The mini-fights had mini-resolutions, which built up to the mega-fight, and a mega-resolution.  The writers didn't shoot for a mega-resolution from the start (which doesn't seem true to life).

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: It is such an astute observation that people quickly personalize general discussions...and then argue about them.

Before Midnight (2013)
by Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, & Julie Delpy

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